Sri Lanka is leaving behind uncertainties - Dr. Palitha Kohona
"Sri Lanka has an unparalleled opportunity to leave behind the uncertainties, the lack of confidence and the bitterness of yesterday and embrace a new era of hope and promise - an era of certainty and prosperity" was the optimistic view given by Sri Lanka Ambassador to the United Nations Dr. Palitha kohona when he addressed his nation's 65th Independence at a ceremony in New Jersey.
Talking about the much discussed North and the East of Sri Lanka, Ambassador Kohona noted "long ravaged by conflict, have been described by international observers as major construction sites as the Government continues to pump in billions of rupees to restore infrastructure and improve the lives of ordinary people".
Following is the complete address given by Dr. Palitha Kohona in New Jersey.
(Begin Text) Today we celebrate 65 years of Independence. I am delighted to welcome you to this joyful event. This year the celebrations are hosted by the Sri Lankan community of New Jersey to whom I express my sincere thanks. We look forward to an afternoon of superb entertainment.
Sri Lanka, under the leadership of H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa, is rapidly moving forward to a new era of economic prosperity and stability. The general living standards are improving as the economy expands at an unprecedented rate. The underlying indicators continue to be positive despite the downturn in the global outlook. Sri Lanka will continue to move ahead and all our people will reap the benefits of peace and stability.
We now have an unparalleled opportunity to leave behind the uncertainties, the lack of confidence and the bitterness of yesterday and embrace a new era of hope and promise - an era of certainty and prosperity.
We must achieve higher goals as a nation together. The expatriate community has a critical role to play in this respect. We who have prospered in distant lands should keep in mind those whom we left. It behoves us to lend a helping hand to those whom we left behind and, in particular the families of those thousands who sacrificed their lives and gave up their today so that we could have our tomorrow.
As the economy improves, the government will also continue proactively to put in place mechanisms to ensure an environment of dignity and equality to all Sri Lankans. All our citizens will have equal opportunities to achieve their highest aspirations and their individual dreams. Those who have been to Sri Lanka recently, would have observed the tranquility and lack of tension. The North and the East, long ravaged by conflict, have been described by international observers as major construction sites as the Government continues to pump in billions of rupees to restore infrastructure and improve the lives of ordinary people.
The private sector, including SMEs, have become a major player in our rejuvenated and rapidly expanding economy. The opportunities continue to expand, whether in the hospitality industry, in agriculture, in fisheries, in high tech or manufacturing. Tourism is booming, opening up extensive opportunities for investment.
The USA is our biggest export market, taking over 20% of our exports, and the potential of this market remains excellent. New investment opportunities are opening up. I invite those of you, who are in a position to do so, to grab these opportunities for the benefit of Sri Lanka, as well as your own selves.
The US has provided us over $ 2 billion in development assistance over the years, including after the tsunami.
I also take this opportunity to congratulate members of the Sri Lankan community who are contributing vitally to the host country, whether in the traditional professions, in business, in the academia or otherwise. We must continue to build bridges with the US. Sri Lankans must be an active part of the social, economic and political milieu of this country. (End Text)
- Asian Tribune -